taste of palestine[This letter appeared in the Sunday Age, 25 September 2011]
THE report in The Sunday Age exposes a fundamental truth of propaganda campaigns – the level of ignorance that drives them.
The protesters chanting outside Israeli-connected Max Brenner chocolates display little understanding of the complexity of the conflict about which they gather, and are apparently unaware of the way in which their aggressive confrontation taps into the collective memory of many in the Jewish community, who inevitably associate back to the picketing of Jewish businesses in 1930s Europe.
Melbourne in 2011 is not comparable to that dark period, nor can the protesters be remotely compared to people back then. But they need to be aware of why some Jews are so incensed by tactics that try to link locally owned Israeli shops with allegations against the Israeli military.
In reality, Max Brenner is not in the war business. The parent company provides ”care packages, sports and recreational equipment, books and games for soldiers”, to quote the protesters.
The consequence of their polarising tactics is that many people who support Israel vent their disgust at the protests, and ignore the oppression of Palestinians, the reality of 44 years of occupation and the brutalisation of generations of Israeli conscripts since 1967. This point is completely lost on the protesters.
LARRY STILLMAN, HAROLD ZWIER
Australian Jewish Democratic Society executive